Tracked Progress VI


Neal hid the wrist brace in the Empire State Building during a case. He chortled the entire way to the car. Peter looked worried.

Before the week was out, the wrist brace was mailed back with a handwritten note and beautiful penmanship. "Try again. Please make it more of a challenge."

Neal was slightly annoyed that Hawkeye had obviously found it so fast but giggled at the thought of Captain America stealing it again and writing his disappointment at Neal's bungled hiding of the ill-gotten gain. Also Neal had an example he could copy for future forging of Captain America's handwriting.

The weeks continued in the same vein. Cases with Peter, hiding the wrist brace with Mozzie in increasingly esoteric places and Captain America sending it back.

And then the wrist brace wasn't returned.

And wasn't returned.

Neal and Mozzie scoured the international news for articles pertaining to the Avengers but even Tony Stark was laying low. Neal didn't think the newest hiding spot was any more inspired than any of the previous ones, but still no envelope arrived for Neal (without a return address).

Then an envelope did arrive –without a return address- much too small for the wrist brace. Instead a smashed computer chip slid out of the cardboard, with a scrap of paper. 'Thanks' was scribbled on it.

Oh. Hawkeye was free. He had served his parole (for whatever crime) and now was off his electric leash. He had probably found his wrist brace but since he had worked through his problems, Captain America didn't need to steal it and send it to Neal anymore.

Neal felt a little used and left behind. It had been fun playing games inside their mutual invisible fence. He was pleased for his… friend, but expected no more contact.

Then Peter showed him the document on an official SHIELD letterhead (and Neal itched to attempt to forge it) sent to the FBI thanking Neal for his assistance and advocating his early release. Neal didn't know the Avengers well enough to know if Captain America or Hawkeye was behind the influential piece of paper, but he was thankful. The paper failed to make an impact on Neal's time served –he was too useful for the Feds to surrender- but it did give Peter the needed leverage to keep him in New York City when the PTB wanted to ship him to DC.